Chicago, Ill., Apr 17, 2015 / 15:09 pm America/Denver (CNA).
The death of Cardinal Francis E. George of Chicago on April 17 was met with an outpouring of prayer, as well as gratitude for the life and service of the prominent Church leader.
Archbishop Blase Cupich, who currently heads the Chicago archdiocese, remembered his “beloved” predecessor in a press conference shortly after the news was announced.
Around the United States, other bishops and Catholic organizations also offered their reflections and prayers, remembering the cardinal for his courage, intellectual contributions and selfless service to the Church.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of U.S. bishops’ conference
The death of an exemplary churchman such as Cardinal Francis George brings much sadness at a time of joy and resurrection. We find peace in knowing that, after so much suffering, he has been raised up with our Lord. As archbishop of Chicago and president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal George led as a kindly servant and unmatched intellectual, a man who encouraged everyone to see how God makes us all brother and sister to one another. I join with my brother bishops in thanking God for the gift of his witness and invite all to pray for the faithful repose of his soul.
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
It was with great sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cardinal Francis George, whom I have known and had the privilege of working with for over 25 years. As brother bishops, we had many opportunities to work together on a number of committees in service to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Over our many years of association, I appreciated Cardinal George’s many intellectual contributions to the conference, his pastoral concern for the faithful in his diocese, and his example of faith and courage. Particularly over the last couple of years as he fought his illness with great grace, he was an example of faith in the Lord.
I offer my prayers and sympathy to Cardinal George’s family and friends and the many people whose lives he touched by his ministry over the years and ask the Lord to grant him eternal rest.
Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York
While we have all realized for a while that it was near, the passing of Cardinal Francis George still comes as a jolt, and leaves us with a sense of emptiness and loss.
I assure Archbishop Cupich and the Catholic family of Chicago of our love, condolences, and prayers here in New York.
I will miss him as a pastor, friend, and guide, and can only thank God for the gift that he was and will ever be.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia
I was deeply saddened today to learn of the death of Cardinal Francis E. George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago.
Cardinal George was a close friend over many years, from the time I was a young bishop in Rapid City. We talked often. He was a constant source of good counsel and encouragement. As a fellow religious, he was a model for me of living the Beatitudes well, despite the daily crush of leading a large local Church. As a bishop and a scholar, he was the finest intellect the Church in America has seen in many decades. The only consolation in losing him is knowing that he served the Lord well, and the Lord has welcomed him home.
On behalf of the Church in Philadelphia, I extend prayerful condolences to Cardinal George's family and many friends as well as Archbishop Blase J. Cupich and the priests, religious, and lay faithful of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
I ask the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to offer prayers for Cardinal George, and our priests to offer Masses for the repose of his soul. All of us are very grateful for the gifts of his life and service to the Universal Church. May God grant him the gift of eternal life, and give peace and consolation to all those who loved, admired, and respected him.
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles
Cardinal George was a friend and a strong Church leader. I will miss him.
He was a good priest and a good bishop, a man of prayer and a scholar. I admired him as an apostle of the new evangelization, and especially his commitment to bringing American culture to a new encounter with the beauty and truth of Catholic teaching.
On behalf of the family of God here in Los Angeles, I extend my condolonces to Cardinal George’s family and friends and to all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Chicago. We thank God for the gift of his ministry and we offer our prayers for the repose of his soul. May God grant him peace.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver
This morning Cardinal Francis E. George, a true shepherd and faithful son of the Church, passed on to his eternal reward. His life was a testament to his love for Jesus Christ and devotion to the Blessed Mother. This same love moved him to place his strong leadership skills and towering intellect at the service of the Church. He will also be remembered for his great sense of humor and ability to relate well to people from all walks of life.
The Archdiocese of Denver is blessed to have been the place where Cardinal George delivered his last public talk, which was fittingly dedicated to the work of forming priests in the 21st Century. Those present heard a man of great courage and fidelity speak from the heart about his personal journey to the priesthood.
I ask that the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver and all those of good will join me in praying for the repose of this gentle, loving and wise shepherd’s soul and entry into the eternal joy of Heaven.
Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois
I was very sorry to learn of Cardinal George’s death. I had the great privilege of working with Cardinal George for over 15 years. He was one of the most holy and intelligent men I have ever met. He was my boss, but also an important mentor, and I dare say, my friend. I will miss him greatly.
Cardinal George served as chairman of the Catholic Conference from his installation as Archbishop of Chicago in May 1997 until his retirement In November 2014.
Monsignor Michael M. Boland, president of Catholic Charities of Chicago
Today we mourn the loss of an incredible leader, guiding spirit and loyal friend. Cardinal George had compassion for all. You saw this compassion in his eyes as he visited with the poor and most vulnerable in our communities.
He was a wonderful mentor to many, including me. He always supported the work of Catholic Charities and it was an incredible blessing to have his leadership help guide us for 17 years. He helped us tackle some of the most difficult issues facing our communities, always with faith and concern for the poorest of the poor. He exemplified our call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, showing mercy and kindness to all and leading by example.
Personally, Cardinal George served as an inspiration to me, as I know he did to many in the Archdiocese and around the world. He was unwavering in his support of the mission of Catholic Charities and his deep-rooted faith and love of the Lord shown through in all he did.
John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America
We at The Catholic University of America were fortunate to have Cardinal George as a member of our Board of Trustees for more than 20 years, including during the entire time that he was cardinal archbishop of Chicago. I was honored to have the opportunity to publicly thank him for his wise counsel to me and for his long and devoted service to his alma mater at our December board meeting last year. He was a man who put his great intellectual gifts at the disposal of Jesus Christ and his Church and who candidly spoke the truth in season and out.
Cardinal George received a Master of Arts degree from Catholic University in 1965. He was on the board of trustees for more than two decades.